Marvel at the Flemish Primitives' Paintings in Sint-Janshospitaal and Sint-Jakobskerk
Sint-Jakobskerk (St. Jacob’s Church) is located at a very short distance from the Markt square. The interior is decorated with a variety of art from various medieval times. The structure of the church has undergone reconstruction and renovation but the early gothic architecture can still be viewed in the interior.
The paintings displayed on the walls were gifted to the church by rich merchants residing in Bruges. Some of the notable pieces of art are:
- An ex-voto of Zeghere van Male and his family painted by Pierre Pourbus in 1578 representing the resurrection of Christ
- A copper grave plate of the tomb cover of Catherine d’Ault
- The legend of Saint Lucia depicted with paintings of three scenes of her life. The first where she donates her belongings to the poor, the second where she’s brought before the consul for condemnation by her fiancé and the last where she was immovable even being dragged by oxen. At the corner of the last scene you can see some buildings of Bruges depicted.
- The Adoration of the Magi on the high altar
- Thirteen scenes representing the life of Jesus and Saint James the Greater
- A statue of Saint James with pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. St. Jacob's Church was an important starting point of pilgrimages to Compostela in the Middle Ages.
- The great pulpit to preach and a carved woodwork dating from the Baroque period which has statues representing some continents
The church also has nice background music that one can listen to while watching the art treasures.
Sint-Janshospitaal (Saint John’s Hospital) located next to the Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk) also contains splendid art made by mostly one amazing Flemish primitive, Hans Memling. It is the oldest preserved hospital in Europe and it originally served as a resting and healing place for travellers and pilgrims in the city. It is currently a museum enriched with medical history and it includes an old pharmacy and monastery.
Memling's notable masterpieces at Sint-Jan include: The Mystical Marriage of Saint Catherine, Portrait of Maarten van Nieuwenhove, the Shrine of Saint Ursula, ...
The Portrait of Sybilla Sambetha:
Diptych of Maarten van Nieuwenhove:
Memling's work breathes sentiment and has an idealised presentation of dreamy and angelic figures. All these make Sint-Jan a must see for anyone visiting Bruges.